Pistons (8-7, 4-5 road) vs. Thunder (10-6, 7-3 home), 7PM CST at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK
Offensive Rating*: Thunder 110.3 (3rd), Pistons 101.6 (24th)
Defensive Rating*: Thunder 104.3 (17th), Pistons 101.0 (7th)
Simple Rating System**: Thunder 4.68 (5th), Pistons 1.48 (15th)
* an estimate of points scored or allowed per 100 possessions
** team rating that takes into account average point differential and strength of schedule. Zero is league average.
The Thunder’s one-time sixth man becomes the face of an upstart team and comes back to Oklahoma City with feelings still raw. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. It’s like Déjà vu all over again.
Reggie Jackson returns playing at an All-Star level and brings some talented teammates along with him. Center Andre Drummond has been a terror this season, averaging 18.1 and 17.8 rebounds per game. Drummond’s season low in rebounds is 10, way back in the second game of the season. Steven Adams and Enes Kanter will have their hands and arms full.
Likewise, it’ll be largely up to Jackson and Marcus Morris to attempt to keep Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in check. Morris has been effective on defense this season and could give Durant a fit or two. Westbrook, on the other hand, could have some pent-up frustration to unleash upon Jackson.
Non-Obvious Player to Watch, Detroit: Any time the Thunder face off against one of the Morris twins, there’s certain to be trash talk. The Suns shipped Morris to Detroit over the summer in a salary cap clearing move and many wondered if the twins could be effective if separated. Morris hasn’t been effective offensively this season, shooting less than 39% from the field and 25% from three, but his career numbers show that he’s certain to improve soon.
Non-Obvious Player to Watch, OKC: Serge Ibaka again gets the assignment of guarding a pair of stretch 4’s in Ersan Ilyasova and Anthony Tolliver. The Thunder will need him to help on the weak side as well against Drummond.
Random Fun Thing: With Kevin Durant in the lineup, the Thunder are 7-3, scoring 113.9 points per game and winning by an average of 9.5 points per game.
Pregame coverage: David Garrett, John Rohde, and Desmond Mason get you prepared starting at 6PM live from Flint Restaurant at the Colcord Hotel, one block north of the arena.
Postgame coverage: Erik Gee and I provide thoughts and insight tonight immediately following the game, also live from Flint.